The lineup: Paul Janeway (vocals), Jesse Phillips (bass), Browan Lollar (guitars, vocals), Allen Branstetter (trumpet), Andrew Lee (drums, percussion), Ben Griner (trombone, tuba), Al Gamble (keyboards).
The background: St Paul And The Broken Bones are at No 3 in the US iTunes chart with their debut album Half The City. They are also signed to Single Lock, the label co founded by John Paul White of The Civil Wars, and the album was produced by Ben Tanner of Alabama Shakes - at the storied Muscle Shoals studios in Alabama, no less, the one where people that you may have heard of such as Rod Stewart and The Rolling Stones recorded, and where more recently Black Keys went to presumably acquire some of the gritty mythos of the Stones (although Rodney not so much - it's where he recorded Atlantic Crossing, his 1975 album, widely criticised for being completely lacking in grit).
Basically, they are this year's Alabama Shakes only instead of a powerhouse of a female vocalist at the helm they've got a powerhouse of a male vocalist: take a bow (and theatrically wipe beads of sweat from your brow with a handkerchief), Paul Janeway, the St of the band's moniker (don't worry, it's meant to be a wry, humorous, self-debunking joke). Now, either Tanner is supremely confident of Alabama Shakes' abilities and feels this town is big enough for the both of them, or he is very, very foolish and lists among his hobbies shooting himself in the foot. Because St Paul the sweaty gospel shrieker and his horn-drenched Broken Bones sound mightily like the Shakes. They also sound mightily like other soul revivalists past and present, US and UK, from the Commitments to Fitz and The Tantrums. You will either be old enough to warmly appreciate their fidelity to the soul pioneers from Otis Redding onwards, be young enough not to care about history and adore their R&B ('60s variety) energy, or just dismiss them as karaoke copycats merely offering a Stars In Their Eyes version of the all-time greats.
For what it's worth, they score highly on the authent-o-meter. Janeway was raised in a non-denominational, Pentecostal-leaning local church and he was groomed to be a preacher until he was 18 years old. In that one sentence you've almost got enough justification for the way he sings and for the music he writes for the band. The vocals and the playing, and the songs, on Half the City are so true to the original sound of soul that you will - ultimate test, this - check that these aren't, in fact, covers of oldies. Either that or you will slump forward, head in hands, in despair at the complete and utter unquestioning prostration towards vintage R&B and conclude that Janeway has simply been loving it too long.
St Paul And The Broken Bones - Call Me
Original article: The Guardian